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Business leader: Arizona will play significant role in 2016 presidential election

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PHOENIX — One of the state’s business leaders said he thinks Arizona will play a significant role in the 2016 presidential election.

“This race is still going to be on when Arizona primary voters go to the polls,” said Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While Arizona voters are paying attention to what is going on now, Hamer stressed there is a long way to go between now and the March 22 presidential primaries in the state.

“Things are going to look considerably different when Arizonans go to the polls in March,” Hamer said.

He said he believes businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz will still be in contention on the Republican side on March 22. He also thinks another candidate looking to appeal to the establishment will be around by the time Arizona votes.

On the Democratic side, Hamer said he thinks Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will still be at it on the 22.

While immigration will be an important issue, Hamer believes other issues will rise to the top for Arizona voters.

“The big ones are the economy and keeping the country safe,” Hamer said.

Hamer said Arizona business leaders are looking for someone who can get the economy firing on all cylinders.

He said they will be looking for someone who can make the country’s tax environment more competitive. On the Democratic side, Hamer said Arizonans are generally moderate.

“Voters will be looking for, on the democratic side, someone who is more moderate,” Hamer said. “Hillary Clinton should do very well in Arizona.”

On the Republican side, Hamer thinks Donald Trump and Ted Cruz could both perform well, but another candidate could do even better.

“(Arizona) is a very forward looking and optimistic state,” Hamer said. “If Sen. [Marco] Rubio does well the next five or so weeks, he will do very, very well in Arizona.”

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